Age & Weight Control in Children
All parents want the best for their kids, but many parents, especially first time parents, may not always know what’s best for their kids. One of the biggest questions is often about what weight their child should be at. Parents don’t often know what a child of a certain age should weigh, let alone how to control their child’s weight or what age is right to start teaching children about diet and exercise. So let’s start with the age question.
At What Age Should We Teach Weight Management to our Children?
Unfortunately, there is no exact answer to this question. Part of it depends on your child’s individual intelligence level and attention span. For example, a good rule of thumb is that children should at least start to become aware of proper nutrition and good exercise routines by about the age of seven.
Everyone should eat around a certain number of calories each day. Calorie guidelines for children vary a bit, depending on if they’re girls or boys and what age they are. Also, some people have faster metabolisms and others have slower metabolisms. So, that can make a difference as well. Generally, though, both boys and girls from ages seven to ten should be getting sufficient calories each day for growth.
As a parent, it’s important to know your own child’s specific situation, though. One great way to do that is to discuss weight issues with your child’s doctor. They can tell you how much your child should be eating, as well as what kinds of foods they should eat, or even those foods to avoid, if after testing, it reveals some kind of food intolerance.
The Weight Epidemic:
These days, there really is an epidemic of obesity. Childhood obesity rates are skyrocketing and it’s not going to get any better if children don’t learn healthy habits early on. If they start bad habits, they’re apt to continue them as adults and even pass them on to the next generation. It’s time to turn that trend around.
You should never rule out younger kids, either. Children have minds like sponges. They soak up anything and everything they see or hear, right from the start. So, they are certainly capable of picking up on things at almost any age. Whether those things are good or bad is at least partly up to you, the parent.
Leading By Example:
The best thing you can do to keep your child’s weight under control is to lead by example. If you spend to much time sitting in front of a TV or computer, for instance, your child will probably follow on and learn the same habits. The same thing goes for eating too much fast food or junk food. After all, your children may not want to eat healthy foods if you are eating junk foods right in front of them.
If your child is already overweight, you may think that it’s too late to change them. That’s not true, though. The truth is that it’s never too late to get your child eating right and exercising. There are some tricks that may help control weight management in children.
Exercise as Fun Activity:
The first thing to do, if your child is overweight, is to get them motivated to exercise. Every child has something that interests them. It might be swimming, bike riding, basketball or some other activity. So, find some outdoor activities that your child and, preferably, your entire family can enjoy. After all, kids aren’t like adults. They aren’t meant to spend hours doing the same routines over and over in a gym. They need some fun and excitement along with their exercise.
Food Can Be Fun:
The process of eating healthy foods can also be fun for kids. Even at a young age, you can get them involved in preparing their daily school lunches, for example. That can be a great bonding experience for you and your child, too.
If your child is overweight already, the thing to remember is that you can’t change them overnight. IT IS A PROCESS! You could begin by getting your child just to stop gaining weight, maybe starting with a few dietary changes and a little added exercise. It’s not important that they actually lose weight immediately, especially as they’re still growing and will eventually need to reach an adult weight anyway. After a while, and with a doctor’s permission, you can begin to try to manage the weight further, if need be, and get the weight to reduce.
Child’s Weight Management Through Behavior:
A lot of getting children to lose weight has to do with modifying those behaviors that got them into trouble in the first place. For example, don’t let your kids sit in front of their TV, video game system or computer all day, every day. Limit it to only a couple of hours and make sure it’s balanced with some sort of activity.
Another step is switching the child’s sugary snacks to healthier ones. Fruits and vegetables, for example, can be both tasty and healthy. A couple of apples each day, for instance, rather than cookies or cakes, can make a huge difference to any child, as far as weight goes.
Children shouldn’t be put on strict crash diets. As mentioned above, moderate changes can be all that’s needed to make a huge difference. However, in ALL cases, it might be necessary to get your child some extra medical help. That help could come in the form of a dietitian or even a weight loss camp for kids.
Although some weight loss camps for kids can be great, they do have a certain stigma attached to them. Your child could be embarrassed and their self-esteem could be damaged, if they’re forced to attend one. So, it’s important to consider not only your child’s needs, but also their desires. If they want to attend such a camp, make sure that you do some research and find a reputable one. Also, give your child’s self-esteem a boost by never referring to them as fat or making them feel like a disappointment to them.
So, what it all comes down to is that childhood obesity is a very real problem, but it’s also a very avoidable or correctable one. All you have to do is take an active role in teaching your child healthy habits early on. Then, those good habits can be passed on through the generations and everyone will be able to live longer and healthier lives.
You must seek approval from your doctor before starting any new diet. Please read our Terms !